Science-based net-zero emissions by 2040

Ørsted is the first energy company in the world to have its net-zero target validated as ‘science-based’ by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). By 2040, we aim to have net-zero emissions across our entire value chain.

Climate change remains the defining challenge of our era. Since the beginning of the industrial age, global greenhouse gases have skyrocketed, and despite repeated and profound warnings from climate scientists, the global community has not yet managed to break the trend of rising emissions.

With fossil fuels being the major contributor to global warming, the renewable energy industry holds the key to science-aligned climate action. At Ørsted, we’ve transformed from one of Europe’s most fossil fuel- and carbon-intensive energy companies to a global leader in renewable energy, undertaking the fastest decarbonisation journey of any energy company in the world.

As a result, we’re on track to meet our industry-leading emissions reduction targets and become carbon-neutral in 2025 in our operations and energy generation (scope 1-2). We’ll see our emissions reduced by at least 98 % compared to 2006 – the equivalent of <10 g CO2e/kWh – and residual emissions will be offset through high-quality projects that are certified to remove carbon from the atmosphere. One such project is our mangrove conservation and reforestation project in Gambia, which will benefit local communities and wildlife. We’ll support the Gambian government, local NGOs, and local communities in the implementation of the project.

Since 2006, we’ve reduced our scope 1-2 emissions intensity by 87 %. To drive emissions down further, we’ll close our remaining coal-based unit at Studstrup Power Station at the end of Q1 2022, and our only remaining coal-based CHP plant, Esbjerg Power Station, will close at the end of Q1 2023 at the latest*. We’ve implemented a systematic approach for reducing emissions from our offshore logistics through efficiency initiatives, including route optimisations and sailing at fuel-saving speeds. At the same time, we continue to push for the use of renewable energy through optimised vessel designs. Most recently in Grimsby, we inaugurated a state-of-the-art hybrid service operation vessel with batteries installed to reduce fuel consumption. We cover 100 % of our own power consumption with green certificates, mainly from our offshore wind farms, and we’re on track to meet our target of a 100 % electric car fleet by 2025. In addition, we’re exploring ways to further reduce emissions from the remaining gas use at our power stations.

Our path to full value chain decarbonisation

The next frontier for us is to decarbonise our full value chain, and our target is to have net-zero emissions by 2040. In October 2021, SBTi launched its Corporate Net-Zero Standard, which provides a credible and independent assessment of whether companies with net-zero targets align their near- and long-term climate action with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. We’re proud that in 2021, Ørsted became the first energy company – and one of only seven companies worldwide – to have our target of reaching net-zero emissions across our full value chain (scope 1-3) by 2040 approved by the SBTi. This is a decade earlier than the global target for net-zero emissions required by climate science to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC – and has since been defined by the SBTi as the general requirement for any energy company.

Our path to net-zero is built on science-based near- and long-term emissions reduction targets. Together, these targets support the continued transformation of our business. We’ll continue to reduce emissions from our energy generation and operations (scope 1-2) to less than 1 g CO2e/kWh by 2040. We’ve committed to reduce our absolute scope 3 emissions from natural gas sales by at least 90 % by 2040, equivalent to <2.4 MtCO2e, as we phase out our sale of natural gas and fossil-based energy.

Our science-based emissions reduction targets to become net-zero by 2040

We scale our green energy while reducing emissions across our value chain
Greenhouse gas emissions intensity, g CO2e/kWh
Emissions across our value chain
We reduce absolute emissions from fossil-based energy
Greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3), million tonnes CO2e
Reduction of fossil based energy year by year

With these targets in place, the main challenge of realising net-zero emissions across our value chain is reducing the emissions in our supply chains. At Ørsted, we aim to scale our green energy business from 13 GW installed capacity in 2021 to 50 GW by 2030. We’re determined to do this whilst bringing down our supply chain emissions. Therefore, our third target is to reduce our remaining value chain emissions, including scope 1-2, to a GHG emissions intensity of 2.9 g CO2e/kWh. This emissions intensity target allows us to continue to scale our renewable energy business while working with the renewable industry to bring down emissions throughout the lifetime of renewable energy assets.


* Following orders from the Danish authorities, Ørsted must delay its target to stop using coal one year to 2024. Ørsted maintains its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2025.

To ensure the security of the electricity supply in Denmark, the Danish authorities have decided to order Ørsted to continue and resume operations of three of its Danish power station units. This applies to two units which use coal as their primary source of fuel, and one which uses oil as fuel. One of these is Ørsted’s last coal-fired powerplant in operation, scheduled to be decommissioned on 31 March 2023, and the two other units have already been decommissioned.

The Danish authorities have ordered Ørsted to keep the three units in operation until 30 June 2024.
Ørsted's sustainability report 2021.
Sustainability report 2021

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